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UH, MetroHealth, Cleveland Clinic postpone some non-essential surgeries as COVID patients fill beds

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Posted at 9:24 AM, Dec 03, 2021

CLEVELAND — University Hospitals, MetroHealth and Cleveland Clinic issued a joint statement on Friday morning to announce that due to a surge in unvaccinated patients with COVID-19 and an unprecedented demand for inpatient care across their facilities, they are near reaching full capacity and are temporarily postponing non-urgent surgeries at some locations.

More than 90% of patients in the ICUs of these hospital systems are unvaccinated, hospital officials stated.

“This means that vaccination is protecting people from severe illness,” the statement reads. “The majority of vaccinated patients who are hospitalized have underlying health conditions.”

UH is experiencing a record-high census of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, and both Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth are experiencing an increase in patients hospitalized due to COVID-19.

There are currently 1,875 COVID-positive patients in hospital beds in Ohio’s hospital regions two and five, which encompass Northeast and eastern Ohio counties, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That accounts for 18.5% of available hospital beds, and with 63.9% of hospital beds currently being occupied by non-COVID patients, current available bed capacity in our area is 17.6%.

There are currently 410 ICU beds left available in regions two and five; COVID patients are occupying 465 beds, and non-COVID patients are using 1,077.

Statewide, there are currently 3,916 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, compared to 3,032 one week ago, an increase of nearly 30%.

All three hospital systems are “making adjustments” to the scheduling of non-urgent surgeries at certain locations, the release states.

“This action frees resources for patients with immediate and life-threatening needs and manages the demands on frontline caregivers, who have served with distinction throughout the pandemic,” hospital officials said.

Below are details on the timing and other actions being taken by each hospital system, from the news release:

Cleveland Clinic 

Cleveland Clinic will temporarily halt the scheduling of additional non-urgent inpatient surgeries requiring a hospital bed in our Ohio locations, with the exception of Euclid and Lutheran Hospitals, beginning Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 through Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. Essential and urgent surgeries, as well as heart, cancer, pediatric and transplantation surgeries, and outpatient surgeries not requiring a hospital bed will continue to be scheduled during this time period. We will continue to evaluate our scheduled surgical patients as the pandemic continues.

The MetroHealth System

In response to high demand for inpatient care – involving both COVID and non-COVID cases – we have begun postponing some elective surgeries to free up space in our hospitals. We are also exercising other options, such as encouraging more use of our Hospital in the Home program, to meet the latest patient surge.

University Hospitals

University Hospitals is currently rescheduling certain non-urgent surgeries at UH Cleveland Medical Center that require an inpatient stay for a short duration of time. At this time, UH Cleveland Medical Center continues to perform urgent surgeries and outpatient surgeries and procedures that do not involve an overnight stay. University Hospitals continues to perform all types of surgeries and procedures at its community hospitals, although the situation is fluid and subject to change. University Hospitals’ physicians are seeing patients as they always have, and UH labs and testing centers are open.

While the statement from the three hospital systems urged everyone eligible to get vaccinated, UH and Cleveland Clinic on Thursday halted their policies requiring their caregivers to be vaccinated after a federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers at facilities that received funding from Medicare and Medicaid.

RELATED: UH, Cleveland Clinic halt vaccine policy for caregivers after judge blocks vaccine mandate